There are benefits in the melting of the Arctic, but the risks are much greater
I am worrying that we forget the global warming phenomenon after the earthquake. Of course I know several researchers claims there are no such links between CO2 and global warming and there are skeptics among ordinary people, but I think these claims are minor argument. First, global warming affects marginal places such as the Arctic, so we don’t actually feel the changes of the climate. Second, it is important to control green house emissions as we do about sewage and garbage considering limited space of the earth. The international society admitted the effect and reached an agreement to decrease carbon emissions in near future. We should stick to this issue.
Why do you think this melting is opportunity or risk?
Are their other risks we should be in mind?
What kind of effects does this issue have on Japan? How far?
1. The ice has shrunk far below the long-term average. (-12% each decade since 1970s / the summer minimum was 4.33m square km – almost 1/2 for 1960s)
2. The arctic is warming roughly twice as fast as the rest of the planet. (mainly by the albedo effect - darker colored land or water has a positive feedback on warming)
The retreating ice offers access to precious minerals and new sea-lanes (Northern Sea Route/ North-west passage). The great melt is going to make a lot of people rich by making large area suitable for agriculture and producing new oil industry in the area.
1. The culture of the Inuit / Arctic peoples claims “right to be cold”.
2. Politics between the Arctic countries / Conflicts of minerals and sea-lane interests emerge.
3. Pollution / A big oil spill will cause devastated pollution among the area
4. Climate change (disrupt oceanic circulation / thaw permafrost / raise sea levels) / Unique ecosystem and perhaps many species will be lost.
The Economist’s point of view
Economic benefits are huge and cultural, political and environmental risks are often exaggerated. However, as scientific researches suggest that climate change becomes excess in the Arctic because of positive feedback, the risk of the loss of the ecosystem is huge still.